We’re excited to announce that we received official confirmation from AACSB International that the accreditation of our business programs has been extended for five years. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is the longest-serving global accrediting body for business schools and the largest business education network. The accreditation represents the highest standard of achievement for business schools and only nine other private schools in Texas have received this honor.
“This accreditation extension affirms ACU’s long-standing commitment to quality residential business education and for the first time endorses the quality of our recently launched online business programs. We have once again shown that ACU belongs among the best business schools in the world,” said Dr. Brad Crisp, dean of the College of Business Administration at ACU. “While this recognition is gratifying, the most important comment we heard from our peer review team is how clearly they could see our commitment to the university’s Christian mission in all that we do.” Our mission is to glorify God by creating a distinctively Christian environment in which excellent teaching, combined with scholarship, promotes the intellectual, personal and spiritual growth of business students, and educates them for Christian service and leadership throughout the world. Our commitment to faith is what drives our desire to curate excellent programs that inspire and grow our students.
Not only does this distinction confirm the quality of our programs, but it also benefits our students when they are competing for jobs and internships. “The caliber of the education I have received has certainly made me competitive,” said Hanna Roberts, a senior management and marketing major from Corpus Christi, TX. After spending the summer interning in corporate citizenship at Texas Instruments, Hanna accepted a job as a marketing associate at Texas Instruments upon graduation. “I felt more than prepared in terms of hard skills when it came to contending with the other interns for a job. But beyond that, I felt that I had something more than just an education. The mentoring and close relationships I have developed within COBA have pushed me to become a better, more whole person who is defined by strong values and a focus on faith, which I believe speaks more to employers than textbook knowledge ever will.”
Students like Hanna are a testament to the fact that not only will students receive an excellent, high-quality education in the College of Business Administration but they will also be equipped to enter into their vocation inspired to be world changers who share their faith and feel connected to their alma mater. In the next five years, we look forward to inspiring the next generation of business leaders through the competitive academic programs and Christian mission that enabled us to receive this accreditation. We would like to thank all of the faculty, staff, and students that contributed in many different ways to our accreditation extension and for their commitment to developing our community.
Meet Colton Powell, a senior finance major from Nashville, TN. While at ACU, Colton has been a part of the Griggs Center, Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization, the Fraternity of Galaxy, the Honors College, on the executive council for the American Enterprise Institute, and served as the Executive Treasurer of the Student Government Association. After graduation, Colton will be working for Enexor, a bioenergy startup in Nashville. Enexor is launching this summer after four years of research and development and has one of the first systems in the world that creates clean energy from waste. Colton will be working in business development for Enexor and finding clients who will benefit from their services, working closely with numbers to demonstrate how Enexor can save clients money, and expanding the business as a whole. Before moving to Nashville, Colton will spend the summer in Germany working with an investment company and staying in ACU’s villa in Leipzig. Colton will also use his time in Germany to begin working for Enexor and creating relationships with potential clients there.
Some of the most impactful moments during his time at ACU came from the experiences Colton took advantage of outside of the classroom and the faith-based relationships that are a cornerstone of the campus. “In terms of just education, ACU is obviously elite and I have learned a lot,” said Colton. “But I could have gotten a similar education at other places. ACU’s relational aspects have truly made the difference for me and transformed me into someone who holds my values high, prioritizes faith, and has learned how to bring that into life after graduation.” Two of his favorite experiential learning opportunities were Leadership Summit and studying abroad with COBA. Leadership Summit taught Colton about what it truly means to be successful in business and to work at having an impact that is greater than just a role in finance or a bottom line. The interactions he had with faculty, staff, and speakers gave Colton a perspective that connected faith with business in a way that impacts him today and will continue to influence him the rest of his life. Colton also studied abroad in Asia with COBA, where he was able to meet with different banks, businesses, and other companies. “Seeing everything that I had studied about business being applied in such a different cultural context definitely expanded my horizons,” he said. “It was incredible to see how similar many things were despite being in a culture so unlike my own.”
Colton will be graduating in May but wants to encourage underclassmen to take full advantage of what ACU has to offer. “You can have such a different experience from someone, even someone in your same major, by getting involved on campus beyond just going to class,” Colton shared. “What I have done outside of the classroom is what has shaped my four years the most. All of the different organizations I have been a part of, the mentoring I have received, and the programs I have participated in have prepared me for my future and I feel I have gotten the most out of ACU for having participated in them.”
Teaching English in Malaysia was never part of the plan until Mackenzie Dalton received word that she had received the Fulbright Scholar award. In January, Mackenzie, a senior pre-law accounting major from Little Rock, Arkansas, will be deferring law school and moving across the world to Malaysia where she will work as an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) in a local school. “I had always thought about maybe teaching English abroad,” said Mackenzie. “This seemed like a good opportunity but even though I have an English minor and am working to get my TESOL certification, I thought that I might not get the award since I am a business major and do not really have a teaching background.”
The Fulbright Award was started in 1946 after a bill introduced by Senator J. William Fulbright was passed to use surplus war property to began an international educational exchange program. It has grown to become one of the largest educational exchange programs for students and young professionals and awards 2,000 grants each year in over 140 countries. Mackenzie started the long and intensive application process in August. She began having conversations with her parents and Dr. Jason Morris, Dean of the Honors College and two-time Fulbright grantee in August. She spent hours deciding which country to apply to, writing personal statements, and perfecting her application before submitting it in October while also applying to law schools at the same time. “The waiting was the hardest,” she reflected. “And then I made it to the next round and still did not know what was going to happen.” She received the award for teaching in Malaysia, which she chose because of their reputation of valuing the Fulbright program and hosting their grantees well.
Mackenzie will not know exactly where she is placed until she arrives in January nor what age level she will be teaching. She will work 30 hours a week teaching English in a school at a secondary level or below and will also be encouraged to guide community engagement projects for the students. On her application, Mackenzie suggested starting a business club for the students but is also interested in other activities, like sports, and is excited for the opportunity to interact with the students outside of class. “I am the most excited to get to know the kids that I will be working with,” she said. “I am also looking forward to learning about the culture and having a different post-grad experience than many of my peers.”
Teaching English abroad may be new to her, but being abroad is not. While at ACU, Mackenzie studied abroad through COBA in Europe and has also traveled internationally on her own. “I do think that my study abroad experience will help with the immersion,” Mackenzie noted. “I will not know the language in Malaysia well at first, but I did not know the languages when I studied abroad. I learned how to travel and be okay in an unfamiliar culture.” Beyond study abroad, Mackenzie is certain that college and COBA have prepared her – and every other student – to be adaptable, hard-working, and critical thinkers, which will serve students well no matter their post-grad plans. We are extremely proud of Mackenzie and excited to see the good work that she will do in Malaysia.
Over spring break, a group of students led by Dr. Laura Phillips and Dr. Sarah Easter traveled to Costa Rica for the first ever Social Enterprise Consulting (MGMT 440) class. This project-based course is designed to give students hands-on experience dealing with a real and substantial issue faced by a socially-minded organization. Students spent six weeks prior to spring break learning about the basics of consulting and learning about the cultural context of the country and organizations they would visit. They were challenged to complete research on the industry and market and received training from the Rotary International campus in Denton, who were also training the entrepreneurs in Costa Rica. “We wanted the students to be prepared in diverse capacities,” said Dr. Easter “That way, when we traveled to Costa Rica, they were as effective as possible in the one-week in-country visit.”
In Costa Rica, the class worked with the Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE), which is a regional center in Costa Rica dedicated to research and graduate education in agriculture, and the management, conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. In collaboration with CATIE, Red de Emprendedoras del Turismo Sostenible de Turrialba (RETUS) is a network of female entrepreneurs focused on experiential rural tourism offerings as a means to help provide sustainable livelihoods to the three involved communities in Central Costa Rica – Santa Cruz, Guavabo and Mollejones. CATIE and RETUS are interested in better understanding the US market for sustainable rural tourism in Costa Rica as well as the development of a promotional marketing plan to successfully reach identified markets in order to grow and develop RETUS further. The class stayed in a small town called Turrialba on the CATIE campus. Over the course of three days, they visited the three communities and observed experiential tourism offerings in each location.
The consulting nature of the course was focused on students engaging with the women entrepreneurs in terms of ecotourism, which means that tourists engage in local culture when on vacation rather than staying within the confines of a resort or hotel for the duration of their stay. Students evaluated the offerings of each entrepreneur from a US – and specifically Texas – tourist perspective. They spent time in each community taking detailed field notes and giving preliminary recommendations and then spent a full day with the class debriefing and identifying weaknesses and opportunities of the offerings in consideration of US customers.
With the focus on ecotourism consulting, the students got to experience Costa Rica in special ways that emphasized interactions with the local culture. “The most eye-opening thing about this trip was the cultural immersion. To actively participate in activities with the locals gave me a unique perspective into who they are,” said Luke Stevens, a junior marketing major from Montgomery, TX. “Instead of feeling like an outsider looking in, I felt more like I was a part of them. Overall, I think I got more out of this trip because it had a focus and purpose as opposed to a regular spring break trip. I would rather have that type of experience than a relaxing week on the beach.” Among other things, the class toured the remains of a Pre-Colombian ruin, visited a butterfly farm, and even learned how to salsa dance. On their final day, they got to go zip lining through the jungle and rappel down waterfalls. “Since I come from a Central American country, I was really impressed by the ‘Tico culture,’ which is what Costa Ricans often call themselves, and how important it is to them that they grow as a community instead of as individuals,” noted Mafer Hernandez, a junior finance major from Guatemala City, Guatemala. They were also really invested in reducing contamination, their roads were clean and they also had several recycle bins.”
Now that they have returned from Costa Rica, students are working on a full report and marketing assessment that gives promotional and placement considerations for the women entrepreneurs. The project-based experience has been invaluable for students as they have gotten a chance to apply what they have been learning in class to real life – and in a meaningful, purpose-driven way. Dr. Easter’s favorite part of the trip was twofold; “I loved watching how passionate the women entrepreneurs are about their businesses and communities and how driven they were in their desire to share that passion with outsiders,” she said. “I also enjoyed watching the students in that international setting. It was neat seeing them interact with people in the community and dive into the experience fully. Traveling with students and watching how much they learn and grow in a short time frame is always incredible”
A grant from Southwest Airlines for plane tickets and scholarships from COBA, as well as the partnerships with Rotary International, CATIE, and RETUS made this trip possible and effective for the students and faculty that attended. We are extremely proud of our students for choosing to spend their spring break applying their business skills to serve others in a global context. We look forward to watching how this class grows in the future and other opportunities our students will have to affect change.
On Tuesday, March 26th, many gathered at the annual Ruth Allen Griggs Honor Luncheon, founded by Jack Griggs and Ann Griggs Berger in honor of their mother, Ruth Allen Griggs. They wanted a way to commemorate the spirit of generosity that Ruth Allen Griggs had in abundance and did so by creating an opportunity for student scholarship recipients and donors to interact. Around the room, stories about times at ACU were shared as well as stories about opportunities that demonstrate the importance and impact of giving back.
Two students were invited to speak about how the scholarships they received allowed them to experience a wide and unique variety of opportunities during their time at ACU. Kevin Pantoja, a senior finance and accounting major and first-generation college student from Roscoe, TX, spoke about the ways he has been able to live out Proverbs 27:17. “My time in the College of Business has allowed me the opportunity to grow not only as a man but as a man of God,” said Kevin. “Because of the interactions with my fellow students or with the amazing faculty and staff that we are blessed with, I can honestly say that I would not be standing here if it was not for the generosity of those in the room.” While at ACU, Kevin has studied abroad in Germany, attended Leadership Summit, been involved on campus, and most importantly has intentionally strived to build up the communities around him as others have built him up.
Elisabeth Danelski, a senior accounting major from Burleson, TX, also shared her story at the luncheon. Elisabeth spoke of goals and plans, but mostly the opportunities she has been able to have at ACU that were not in her plan. Studying abroad twice, serving on short term mission trips, attending conferences, and immersing herself in many other experiences unique to ACU was not in her plan but was made possible through Elisabeth’s hard work and the generosity of others. “In my time here, I have learned a lot of things,” Elisabeth explained. “I have broadened my horizons, I’ve cultivated a wider worldview, I’ve shared my story and had the pleasure of hearing so many others. But the one thing I will cherish the most is learning that the incredible experiences I had that weren’t in or didn’t go according to ‘my plan’ happened because it was never supposed to be my plan in the first place.” Elisabeth looks forward to making it a priority to pay the opportunities she has had forward once she graduates and urged her peers to do the same.
David Shewmaker (’92), a member of the Dean’s Council, also spoke at the luncheon. He reflected on times at ACU and shared his heart for the students and the community they experience here. All of the speakers were inspiring and reminded all attending of the value and importance of generosity. Dean Brad Crisp said “the Ruth Allen Griggs luncheon was once again a highlight of the year. Kevin and Elisabeth did an impressive job of sharing their stories as first-generation college students and expressing their gratitude to our donors. I am grateful we have the opportunity to bring our students and donors together for an event like this.” We were proud to be able to host this luncheon, honor Ruth Ann Griggs, and to once again see the effect that a spirit of generosity can have on generations.
We are pleased to introduce you to DanielGarcia (’04), who will be moving to a full-time faculty role within the College of Business Administration this fall. Garcia is from Cancún, Mexico and came to ACU as an international student. He graduated with majors in management and marketing, a certificate in missions, and a minor in global studies. Soon after graduation, Garcia began working in admissions as a multicultural marketing specialist to help recruit a more diverse student body across the U.S. and internationally. He has a masters degree in intercultural communication, a certificate in conflict resolution, and is finishing his M.B.A. through COBA’s new online program. He is currently the Director of Multicultural and International Enrollment and also teaches International Business (BUSA 419) and Principles of Marketing (MKTG 320). His wife, Yukari, is from Japan and they have two little girls and a one-month-old son. Garcia and his family attend the bilingual service at University Church of Christ.
Q: What drew you to teaching?
A: I never considered teaching as a career until fairly recently. Several years ago, I was in Hong Kong on a recruiting trip and met a COBA study abroad group lead by Dr. Phil Vardiman. I was flying to Shanghai to recruit students at a university and invited Dr. Vardiman to come along, as students like to hear from faculty during the recruiting process. After watching me give a presentation to the prospective students about ACU, Dr. Vardiman started a conversation with me about teaching. Many more conversations later, I started teaching part-time for COBA last semester and am excited to move to full-time in the fall.
Q: Why do you enjoy teaching and working with college students?
A: A large part of my job in admissions and recruiting was talking up ACU and describing why it is such a unique university. One of the biggest factors that set ACU apart from other universities is our faculty. They are remarkably caring, intentional, and truly make a difference in students’ lives. After talking with Dr. Vardiman, I realized that I did not just want to talk about that difference, I wanted to make that difference. I am excited to help students learn how to hold a more global worldview. The more we learn about other cultures, the more we learn about our own and discover peace as we begin to understand each other. I believe in not just teaching content, but presenting it in new and innovative ways that emphasize a continually expanding worldview.
Q: Outside of teaching, what passions/hobbies do you have?
A: I have traveled internationally for ten years for work. Traveling is one of those professions that when people hear what you do, they assume you are just on a glorified vacation. There are also different perceptions of some places over others and the idea of glamorous travel wears off very quickly. To continuously travel for work for so long, you have to have a passion for what you do and a passion for other cultures. I love learning how those different from myself think, why they do what they do, and watching people solve the universally same problems in different ways.
Q: What is something that students might be surprised to find out about you?
A: I play on the “Sunflowers of Death” soccer team with Dr. Jessup and have a superhero alter ego, Chido Man, who represents the idea that God has given us talents to make a difference in the world.
Garcia will continue to teach International Business and Principles of Marketing as he assumes his full-time position in the fall. We are excited to see what he does in this role and to welcome him further into the COBA family.
This year, ACU Student Productions is premiering the ‘Sing Song Archives,’ a website that hosts video, audio, and pictures from the many years of Sing Song history and tradition. We decided to dig up some COBA Sing Song history. Read more to find out which of your faculty and staff were Sing Song legends as students!
Dr. Brad Crisp, Dean
First, our very own dean, Dr. Brad Crisp was involved in Sing Song all four years. He performed in six Sing Song acts, including directing the Fraternity of Galaxy in 1993 when they were hockey players.
Freshman Class – 1990: “Paving the Road to our Future”
Sophomores – 1991: “Happy Together”
Galaxy – 1991: “Galaxy’s Field of Dreams”
Galaxy – 1992:
Senior Class – 1993: “We’re Not Scared, We’re Just Chicken”
Galaxy – 1993: “On Frozen Pond”
M.C. performed in Sing Song all four years as a student in both class and club acts and performed in two winning acts with Ko Jo Kai. Watch her performances here!
Freshman Class – 1988: “Sesame Street Live”
Ko Jo Kai – 1989: “We’re All Keyed Up”
Ko Jo Kai – 1990: “It’s Nice to Have Friends in High Places”
Senior Class – 1991: “Coming to America: The ACU Pilgrimage OR Turkey Tetra-Senior”
Ko Jo Kai – 1991: “Schooldazed”
Dr. Ryan Jessup
Dr. Jessup was also heavily involved in Sing Song, participating in both club and class acts while at ACU as a student. He was a part of the Class of 1997’s clean sweep, meaning that their class acts won overall each year.
Freshman Class – 1995: “”We are Truckers; We Have Self-Esteem”
Sophomore Class – 1996: “Why Yodeling is No Longer an Art Form”
Junior Class – 1997: “When You’re an Eskimo, the Fun Never Ends”
Dr. Jessup also participated in the Gamma Sigma Phi acts “How the West Was Sung” and “We are in Sails – The Shipping is on Us,” which are featured a ‘little’ later in this blog.
Amanda Pittman performed in three Sigma Theta Chi Sing Song acts and won with “Making Their Mark” and “Chili Today, Hot Tamale.” See if you can spot her below!
Sigma Theta Chi – 1998: “Making Their Mark”
Sigma Theta Chi – 1999: “From Rags to Riches”
Sigma Theta Chi – 2000: “Chili Today, Hot Tamale”
Dr. Andy Little
And last, but certainly not least, Dr. Andy Little. Dr. Little may have been the most involved person in Sing Song ever. Performing in a whopping seven acts during his time at ACU as a student, Dr. Little participated in class and club acts all four years and even directed three acts.
Freshman Class – 1994: “The Search for Intelligent Life on the Hill”
Sophomore Class – 1995: “A Bunch of Hot Dogs (and Vendors)!” (directed by Dr. Little)
Gamma Sigma Phi – 1995: “We’re Teed Off, Shank You Very Much”
Junior Class – 1996: “The Thrill of Victory; The Agony of Da-Feet!” (directed by Dr. Little)
Gamma Sigma Phi – 1996: “How the West Was Sung”
Senior Class – 1997:
Gamma Sigma Phi – 1997: “We are in Sails – The Shipping is on Us” (directed by Dr. Little)
In January, over seventy students traveled to the top of a mountain in Colorado and spent a week learning about leadership from thirteen speaker sessions and a team of faculty and staff from ACU. Through the dynamic speakers, practical application of what is taught, and spiritual insight, students are equipped for leadership in the family, in their community, in the church, and in the marketplace. This short course is one of the most transformational experiential learning opportunities COBA offers and is always a favorite for students that attend.
Wendy Davidson and Elise Mitchell speak to students.
A unique aspect of Leadership Summit is an opportunity for students to hear from CEO’s, inspiring speakers, and ACU faculty and staff and get to know these individuals on a personal level. “One of the speakers shared a really impactful story about facing significant troubles in the workplace as a direct result of sharing his faith,” said Lincoln Jones, a senior accounting and IS major. “His testimony encouraged me to not fear the backlash from bringing faith into the workplace.” Some of the speakers from this year include Brad Gautney, founder and president of Global Health Innovations, Rick Atchley, preaching minister at The Hills, Wendy Davidson, president of U.S. Specialty Channels Kellogg Company, Tim Goeglein, senior advisor to the president and vice president for External Relations at Focus on the Family and deputy director of the White House Office of Public Liaison from 2001-2008 for President George W. Bush, Carlos Sepulveda, chairman of Triumph Bancorp, Inc. and former president and CEO of Interstate Batteries, Mike Willoughby, CEO of PFSweb, Inc., Elise Mitchell, founder and chair of Mitchell Communications and CEO of Dentsu Aegis PR Network, and Pete and Austin Ochs, founder/chairman and CEO, respectively, of Capital III.
Students have the chance to ask speakers questions at the end of each session.
In addition to lecture sessions, students are able to spend time talking with speakers one-on-one and share meals with them. Some of the speakers serve as mentors for a ‘River Crossing’ project, a project that challenges students to make a plan to use their given leadership positions to make a difference in the world. Taylor Gould, a junior marketing major, said that her favorite part of the experience “was simply being in Colorado and feeling connected with my professors, classmates, and the speakers. It was amazing to be able to experience all of it with people who you would never meet otherwise and people you see every day. The lessons from the week were very applicable and made me feel so inspired.” A community connection is at the core of Leadership Summit and happens at many different levels between every person – speaker or student – in attendance.
Zach Smith, Hill Holloway, and Hayden Hood swing off the side of the mountain on ‘The Screamer.’
While the week offers many moments for educational, spiritual, and community-centric transformation, the location also allows students to have a lot of fun. The class is currently held at Frontier Ranch, a YoungLife camp outside of Buena Vista, Colorado and YoungLife staff serve the Summit attendees throughout the week. Students can hike up to the crosses at the top of a mountain peak, swing off the side of a mountain on the Screamer, play archery tag, and spend time building community and fellowship in the game room. These experiences give students the chance to spend time with each other and grow in deeper connection (and also face their fears, especially if they have a fear of heights).
Students spend time in community with each other throughout the week.
Every year, students return to Abilene refreshed and challenged to make a difference in their communities and this year was no different. Mariel Delgado, a senior architecture and interior design major, shared that Summit “is not like any other business class you will ever take and the lessons you learn and friendships you make are unlike any other. Hearing everyone’s life stories from such a raw perspective but also just the fact that so many people took the time to come speak to us and pour into our lives for that week.” We look forward to watching how Mariel and all of the other students take what they have learned from the mountaintop and incorporate it into their lives to bring about change that lasts.
In the coming weeks, we will be sharing photos from the trip on our Facebook page as well as some of the speaker sessions for you to revisit and enjoy on our YouTube channel. Keep an eye out for these posts and future ones concerning the incredible and unique opportunity that is Leadership Summit.
Students hike up to the crosses at the edge of one of the ridges of Mt. Princeton.
Business & Sustainability students take a tour of the newly revitalized Cisco Downtown.
In January, twenty-two students attended Dr. Sarah Easter’s Business & Sustainability course (MGMT 440), a one-week intensive class that educates students on the opportunities and challenges of developing more sustainable business strategies and practices, and to explore the changing role of business in society and in relation to the environment. “Typically in business, we focus on financial sustainability,” Dr. Easter explained. “We fail to consider the economic and social well-being aspects of sustainability, so this course looks at the impact businesses can have on the community and environment as well.” The course offers many different perspectives on sustainability, examining what that means for a variety of different companies, from large, global corporations to local, small businesses.
This was the third year that the course has been offered but the first year that Dr. Easter incorporated out-of-town field trips in addition to several guest speakers. The students spoke with Abilene business owners, several ACU professors from varying colleges, and with a panel of Cisco downtown business owners. Students took a tour around ACU with Corey Ruff, Associate Vice President of Operations, to understand the campus initiatives for sustainability on a deeper level. They also went to Disability Resources Inc., a residential community for individuals with intellectual disabilities.
Cisco mayor Tammy Douglas speaks to Business & Sustainability students.
The students spent half a day in Cisco, TX. They spoke with Joy and Kerry Hedges, the owners of Slowpoke Farms and Slowpoke Market Store. The Hedges made significant lifestyle changes for sustainability regarding the food and products they consumed and extended those values beyond their personal life to their farming methods and business practices. In September, they opened the Slowpoke Market Store, which students were able to visit. The Slowpoke Market Store is a part of the revitalization effort in the downtown Cisco area. Students interacted with a panel of other business owners in the downtown area that are also involved with the revitalization efforts and with Tammy Douglas, Cisco’s first female mayor. Douglas explained the importance of local resources and how they have incorporated sustainable practices in the changes occurring in Cisco and gave students a tour of the downtown area.
By the end of the class, students were able to recognize interactions between environmental, social, and economic decisions, understand the power of business to negatively or positively impact their surroundings, gained exposure to how a variety of different organizations and perspectives tackle today’s sustainability challenges, and became more aware of their own role when participating in personal and professional decisions related to sustainability. Marissa Hickson, a senior marketing major, said that “the most impactful thing I learned in the class was the importance of researching the background, goals, and values of the companies I support. We learned how to evaluate sustainability reports and determine whether or not a company’s values align with ours. I learned that a lot of companies that I have trusted in the past don’t actually operate in the most ethical ways! It’s great to be aware of this now so that I can be sure to support the companies who are actively working to make our world a better place.” The class will be offered next January, so students can ask your advisor about this offering.
Lexi Koon, graduating senior accounting and major from Denver, Colorado.
Lexi Koon is a senior accounting and management major with a concentration in entrepreneurship from Denver, Colorado. She is in the integrated Masters of Accountancy program and wants to pursue a career as a CPA after graduation. We asked Lexi a few questions about her time at ACU. Read her answers below!
Q: How has your education at ACU, especially in your department, prepared you for the future?
A: My education at ACU has taught me a lot about learning how to see the world from other people’s perspectives and to be a better listener. That applies primarily to my classes outside of my business classes such as my bible classes, my communications classes, and other electives I have had to take over the years. As far as my education in the accounting department, I feel as though I have been prepared by the accounting department to understand the technical skills I will need to further my career as a CPA. It feels really great to come out of four years of school and know that I actually have the skill sets to be successful in a specific field and to also know that I will use what I learned in those classrooms every day in my career. In the business management department, my professors prepared me for my future by exposing me to different aspects of business as a whole, they inspired me to set extraordinary goals and challenged me to dream big (like in entrepreneurship class with Jim Litton), and above all else, they prepared me by showing me they believed in me.
Q: What has been your favorite thing/memory about your time at ACU and COBA?
A: Wow, that is a really hard question. I don’t know if I can necessarily pick a favorite, but it’s more-so a combination of all the times professors tried really hard to make bad jokes in class, when they invited us over for “Grilleniums” or when they invited us to worship events at their church. My most cherished memories have been when professors stopped class to give us a “real talk” about life or when they shared what was going on in their lives to give us encouragement in ours. My favorite experience at ACU by far has been getting to have my professors over and over again in class and building relationships with them to where I know they actually care about their students. From book club with Dr. Laura Phillips to bible study with Dr. Easter, they all have made a huge impact on my life as a student at ACU. The professors at ACU are funny, they are thoughtful, they are kind, and they are beyond caring.
Q: What was your favorite class in the accounting department?
A: Answering this question is difficult because the professors are all so different. All of the professors are great and they all bring a different character to the classroom. Content-wise and professor-wise, I would have to say Income Tax with Dr. Fowler has been my favorite class as an undergraduate. I dreaded having to take that class because, well, who wants to learn about taxes? I found that Dr. Fowler is one of few people in the world who can actually make learning about tax fun. He made us laugh almost every day and he challenged us, but he also believed in us. I’m also currently in his Corporate Tax class in the MAcc program and I can say that may be the hardest class I have ever taken but I still love it because he teaches it and constantly re-affirms us that we can do it.
Q: Who was your favorite professor and why?
A: I spoke a little about Dr. Fowler in that last question, but to answer this question, Dr. Fowler was my favorite professor because he went above and beyond to make us know that we are more than just a number in his class. He is typically known for teaching some of the hardest classes in the accounting department but he is also the professor that sends us emails to tell us he believes in us, that he is proud of us, and that he is here for us. Almost every day in class, he tells us a funny story to make what should be boring content enjoyable, and several times throughout the semester he has stopped class to point out seasons of celebration in our own lives and other times he took the time to be real with where he’s at and the hardships that life faces us all. He made our classes become family and I would go back and take those extremely hard classes again as long as I knew he was teaching it.
Q: If you could talk to a prospective student considering coming to ACU, why would you tell them to choose ACU?
A: I would tell them to choose ACU because it is like no other college they will go to. The “ACU Difference” is the community that you find along the way. This should be apparent in my responses from earlier questions, but the professors, the faculty, and the students have shown me what it is to look at those who are different from me and want to learn from them, to learn how to love them, and to be surrounded by a circle of people who have your back 100%. As I leave ACU, I feel completely supported and surrounded by an extraordinary amount of love and I am thankful. You will never be a number here. The first year is tough at any college, but as you continue to grow your experience here, you will walk around and be known, and that is what the walking in the Kingdom looks like.